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Talks Back On: Clippers Offer 2015 No. 1 Pick Instead Of 2014 No. 1

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics and Clippers fans held hostage, Day 10.

The-Deal-That-Won’t-Die isn’t dead yet with the Celtics calling off Friday’s scheduled press conference with GM Danny Ainge and soon-to-be-former Coach Doc Rivers.

Meanwhile, an NBA source with knowledge of the talks told SportsCity they’re on again, with the Clippers offering one protected No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft as compensation for Rivers.

The teams had worked out twin deals for Rivers and Kevin Garnett — which the NBA refused to approve Wednesday.

Making if official on ESPN Radio, David Stern sneered at the attempted finesse job (“If you think those — at this point all over the media — are separate transactions, I have a bridge that I would very much enjoy selling to you.”)

That left the Celtics and Clippers trying to re-do the deals to the NBA’s satisfaction all Wednesday and failing.

Obliged to work out a stand-alone deal for Rivers, the Clippers slashed their offer from two No. 1s to no No. 1s?

Yes, Stern was right. Without the second, supposedly unrelated transation bringing KG, the Clippers would no longer offer two No. 1s for Doc.

Clipper officials were locked down all day but Wedneday night, a source close to the team told SportsCity, “This will happen, let it play out.”

If that suggested the Clippers would boost their offer, or make one, it meant nothing until the Celtics suddenly called off Friday morning’s press conference, without explanation.

The NBA source confirmed the Clippers are offering one pick in 2015, instead of the hot 2014 draft the Celtics are focused on.

The 2015 pick would be protected, which could mean top 5, top 10, or lottery-protected.

In other words, even if the Celtics accept the principle of taking one No. 1, they have a lot to talk about.

Ten days after talks started, there’s a growing probability they’ll make a deal for Rivers, which the NBA will approve today or break off for good.

The second transaction, the proposed Garnett-DeAndre Jordan trade, would have to come later.

Having insisted the transactions stand alone, it’s hard to believe the NBA would approve both at once.

So even if the teams agree, the trade would have to wait until next week’s draft or July or August.

No, it hasn’t been fun while it lasted and it’s not over yet.

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Mark Heisler, an NBA Hall of Fame writer and 2006 winner of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Award, writes for Sheridanhoops.com, HoopsHype.com, TruthDig.com and Huffingtonpost.com, as well as Lakers Nation. | Follow @MarkHeisler

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